Book in focus: Mostly Plants

So it is January, traditionally the time to make some changes to our lives for the better. For me, I have been wondering how to shift my family of carnivores towards a less meat-heavy diet. Me, I love veggies but - if I am honest - I lack imagination in the kitchen and the time to think beyond our standard house staples: spag bol, pancakes, fish fingers or burgers. 

For a multitude of reasons, people are increasingly choosing to go ‘a little bit vegan’, for health, environmental, political or personal reasons. I love this idea, but to date, it has felt like the time and effort required might be too much. Could this book help me move myself and my family one step closer to a 70/30 lifestyle (that is 70% veg, 30% meat) in a way which is actually possible as a working parent?

I chose a rainy January weekend to put this to the test. If I am totally honest, when I arrived home with the book it was met with fairly damp enthusiasm. The husband is pretty used to my attempts to reduce our meat intake - all of which have failed over the years. However, after a quiet flick through the book, he quickly found a recipe he was keen to try: the pretty scrumptious-looking chicken and vegetable burgers (with the works). The next day, he proceeded to get our son involved in the buying, preparation and cooking of the burgers. And the result was really tasty. So much so, our vegetable and chicken-evasive child actually ate some. The following day, we turned the extra burger meat into succulent little meatballs to eat alongside the flavour filled buffalo cauliflower which we scoffed down with masses of guacamole.

I think the thing we all liked about this book is just how good the photos are at selling each meal. Nearly every page has a tongue-tingling image beside a surprisingly simple recipe. Nothing looks too ‘healthy’ or good for you - the biggest complaint from the other half when it comes to more plant-based diets - and everything is achievable with even fairly modest cooking skills.

In the main, the majority of the ingredients listed in this book are things I already had in the press or could easily access. This, for our busy household, is a definite bonus. It is worth noting that all weights are measured in cups, so if you are not familiar with this it could take a little extra prep to work out quantities, but other than this, all was simple and straightforward.

I can't wait until next weekend when we can try out some new recipes - maybe the crispy kale, potato hash and fried eggs, or the crunchy parmesan covered chickpeas. I even got my 3 year old (the pickiest eater out there) to eat courgette, so this book defo gets a large thumbs up from me and all the family!

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Don Norman